Actors turn backs on Daejong Film Awards

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Actors turn backs on Daejong Film Awards

The Daejong Film Awards, the longest-running and once the most prestigious film event in Korea, lost luster in a big way when none of the candidates in the best actor and actress categories showed up at the 52nd edition of the awards held Friday evening.

Nine of the best actor and actress nominees and two winners in the most popular actor category boycotted the ceremony, which was held Friday evening at KBS Hall in Yeouido, western Seoul.

Hwang Jung-min of “Ode to My Father,” Son Hyun-joo of “Chronicles of Evil,” Yoo Ah-in of “Veteran” and “The Throne” and Ha Jung-woo of “Assassination” said in advance that they wouldn’t participate. They were all four of the nominees for the best actor award.

Kim Yun-jin of “Ode to My Father,” Jun Ji-hyun of “Assassination,” Kim Hye-soo of “Coin Locker Girl,” Umh Jung-hwa of “Wonderful Nightmare” and Han Hyo-joo of “The Beauty Inside” did not show. They were the five nominees for best actress.

Kim Soo-hyun and Gong Hyo-jin were to receive the most popular actor and actress awards, respectively, and they also boycotted.

Officially, the actors said they couldn’t come because of personal reasons such as busy schedules. Insiders say the collective “no show” was actually a protest of the way the awards are managed.

One policy actors particularly disagree with is a “no show, no award” policy, which was first announced by the organizing committee at a press conference on Nov. 14.

They said anyone who doesn’t show up at the ceremony will not be given an award.

“Having other individuals receive awards on their behalf at a nationally televised ceremony is highly undesirable,” Cho Geun-woo, director of the event, said. He added that if the nominees choose not to participate, they will be denied awards as well.

The policy was reportedly withdrawn after protests, but no official statement announced a withdrawal.

Additionally, an online voting system for the most popular actor award, in which fans are required to pay to participate, came under fire.

“It costs hundreds of millions of won to hold these film awards,” director Cho told local online media outlet TV Daily on Thursday. “I don’t know who this film event is for.

“This is where the actors of Korea are now, a very underdeveloped country,” he continued. “Once people become stars, their behavior completely changes.”

He said actors had a duty to participate in the event so that they can show gratitude to those who supported them.

“Actors can come to these events in the midst of a filming schedule,” he said.

The fracas was hurting the awards more than the boycotting actors, according to industry insiders.

“The power of the award comes from the recipients and the spectators, not the awarder,” film critic Jung Ji-wook told the Korea JoongAng Daily. “This is the result of them exploiting their authority.”

“The ‘no show, no award’ policy is a big mistake,” he continued. “With the Academy Awards, people are honored just to be nominated. Eliminating the nominee just because they cannot participate is a sheer misuse of power. They are just making fool of themselves.”

“The Daejong Film Awards have to start anew with completely new members,” Jung said. “The management is too rotten; there is no possible way to correct it. It has to start afresh.”

Friction between actors and the committee about attending the ceremony was also felt in 2011, when the name of Shim Eun-kyung, who was nominated as best actress for “Sunny,” was excluded from the final nomination list announced on the day of the event.

Shim, who couldn’t attend the awards ceremony because of a school schedule, said that she feels “bitter” toward the awards management.

At Friday’s ceremony, Lee Min-ho and Lee Yoo-young received rookie actor and actress awards. They attended. Baek Jong-yeol, winner of the rookie director award, did not.

Winners of the best actor and actress awards weren’t announced as of press time.

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